A brow lift, also known as a forehead lift, is a surgical procedure that corrects a sagging or deeply furrowed brow.
The procedure is often performed to reduce the creases, or ‘frown lines’, that develop across the forehead and on the bridge of the nose.
Drooping of the brows, deep wrinkles in the forehead and crow’s feet are common signs of natural ageing.
Sagging or ptosis of the eyebrows also contributes to sagging of the upper eyelids. This results in an artificially tired, angry or sad appearance.
Upper eyelid sagging can be improved through blepharoplasty surgery but it will not address heavy brows. However the two procedures are often linked, as long term excess upper eyelid skin obstructs vision, causing patients to raise their eyebrows and use their forehead muscles to try and lift the skin on their upper eyelids, causing deep grooves and wrinkles in the upper face.
Sometimes, people in their 30’s and 40’s might notice a genetic predisposition to having a flat or naturally lowered brow, even before the signs of mid life ageing set in. These people are sometimes mistaken for being older, or having a tired or perplexed ‘resting’ appearance that doesn’t reflect how they really feel.
The aim of a brow lift is to improve facial appearance and reduce the signs of ageing by:
- Elevating the brow into a preferred position
- Smoothing out forehead wrinkles
- Lessening frown lines that develop between the eyes near the nose
- Other surgical rejuvenation treatments often performed along with a brow lift are facelift surgery and eyelid reduction surgery.
- Non-surgical treatments, such as chemical skin peel, dermabrasion or skin resurfacing of the face, may also be undertaken at the same time as the brow lift. The aim of these treatments is to treat sun damaged skin and crow’s feet around the eyes, which are not removed by brow lift surgery.
Sometimes, a brow lift and facelift or upper eyelid reduction (blepharoplasty) are performed at the same time.
How do I know if I need a facelift, blepharoplasty or brow lift?
- Blepharoplasty removes excess upper or lower eyelid skin
- Facelift reduces mid, lower face and upper neck excess, sagging skin and tightens the underlying structures for a more defined jawline and lifted, firmer appearance for the mid and lower face
- Brow lift addresses the area from the brow up – the forehead
Does Dr Sharp perform endoscopic brow lift?
Yes. Three to five short incisions are made in or above the hairline. An endoscope (thin instrument with a tiny camera) is passed through the incision and positioned near the brow.
Using an instrument inserted through another incision, the forehead skin is released from the underlying bone and lifted upwards. Sutures are then placed under the skin to lift the brow.
The hairline usually stays at the same level.
Please note this type of brow lift is not suitable for advanced ageing whereby significant skin sagging exists in the forehead.
Who is a good candidate for a brow lift?
You may be a candidate for brow lift surgery if you:
- Are physically healthy
- Have a positive outlook and realistic goals
As we age, unsightly wrinkle lines may appear on the forehead. Frown lines between the brows can make us look angry or “too serious.” Skin relaxation may cause the eyebrows to drop, hooding our upper eyelids and making us look tired. If you are bothered by these signs of aging in the brow region, a brow lift may be right for you.
Brow lift costs will include:
- Anesthesia fees
- Hospital and theatre costs
- Surgeon’s fee
- Surgeon’s assistant’s fee
When choosing a specialist plastic surgeon for a brow lift, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
During your brow lift consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your goals for your appearance
- Your complete medical history, current prescription medications, including vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Evaluate your general health status and any risk factors
- Discuss your options
- Examine and measure different parts of your face
- Take photographs
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of brow lift surgery and any potential complications
Be sure to ask questions. It’s very important to understand all aspects of your arm lift procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with Dr Sharp.
Questions to ask Dr Sharp during your brow lift consultation:
- Are you a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons?
- Are you a qualified specialist plastic surgeon? You can check here.
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- What will be expected of me to get the best results?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What surgical technique is recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- How can I expect to look over time?
- What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my brow lift surgery?
What are the risks of a brow lift?
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the surgery will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of a brow lift are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Brow lift surgery risks include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Loss of hair around the incisions
- Elevated hairline
- Eye irritation or dryness
- Facial asymmetry
- Facial nerve injury with weakness or paralysis
- Fluid accumulation
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation or intense itching
- Pain, which may persist
- Poor wound healing
- Possibility of revision surgery
- Skin loss
- Unfavorable scarring
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent with Dr Sharp. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with him before committing to surgery.
Brow lift surgery recovery time
Initial wound healing may take 14 days. Sutures are usually dissolvable - non dissolvables will be removed around 7 days post op. You should be ready to return to work and normal activity after 10-14 days.
Cosmetics can help camouflage any bruising. Even though you will look presentable to the public, you will find that the healing will continue for several weeks, as the swelling dissipates and incision lines refine and fade. It may take several months for your complete recovery.
Following Dr Sharp’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery. It’s important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Brow lift for men with balding
Brow lift incisions are normally hidden in the hairline, but if a patient does not have much hair covering the front of their scalp, a brow lift can be considered with incisions along the brow line. The down side is that scars are more visible and can take up to 2 years to fade; in the interim they can be quite evident, especially in the early months after surgery.
Feather touch cosmetic tattooing can help conceal the scars but ultimately the overall benefits of the brow lift need to be weighed against the scars in this case.